A Day in the Streets

I want to be more intentional when it comes to composing photographs. 

Many of my favorite images have less to do with the subject of the photograph and more to do with the light and composition (arrangement of shapes) in the frame. I think this is where photography can become more artistic, beyond simply recording a moment experienced or a scene seen.

Recently, I can't get enough of Sean Tucker's street photography. The way he makes geometry and tonal contrasts the main subject of an image regularly astounds me—it's so different from how I typically approach photography. I often find myself looking at his images with a bit of jealousy, wishing I had the creative "eye" to see how he sees. Perhaps a little bit of it can be learned though?

Though the vast majority of my photography is based in the mountains and nature, I decided to explore in Denver this weekend with the loose goal of finding interesting compositions in the city.

The plan was to explore around downtown, experimenting with light and shadows, but parking was a nightmare, so I ended up a bit further north in the RINO arts district. It's a cool area with murals and street art on most every available building wall and I thought it might make for a good exercise in looking more closely for shapes and patterns. I wanted to be careful to not just take a picture of someone else's art, though—that would be fine from a recording-an-experience standpoint, but it wouldn't really accomplish my goal of practicing composition. 

I walked around, trying to find patterns, colors, textures, really anything that caught my eye. I'd then try to study it for a moment and identify something about it, some detail, that stood out to me and try to capture that in frame. To keep it simple, I just used my old iPhone SE. Nothing fancy.

At first it seemed a little silly to be taking a picture of a wall, but I ended up having a really good time. Now, I'm under no impression that any of the images I came away with have any artistic value beyond their role as practice sketches. Even so, I think it's fun to share some behind-the-scenes stuff in addition to the more "complete" images, so here are a few of the compositions I managed to find: 

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Just some half-baked ideas and half-baked images, but that's how the learning process happens I suppose. 

 

A Comprehensive Beginner Landscape Photography Kit for $909: My Specific Gear Recommendations

Last week I dropped and broke my full-frame Sony a7rii camera. Ouch...

In the meantime, while it's in the shop being (hopefully) fixed, I've had to go back to using my older, more basic camera setup. And you know? It does a pretty damn good job. Now, that's not to say that I'll be selling all of my prized full-frame gear, but I do think the Sony a6000 is possibly the best value for your money when starting out in landscape and travel photography. 

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With that in mind, I decided it might be helpful to put together my specific recommendations for a complete gear list for getting started with landscape and travel photography that won't totally break the bank, but can still result in really high-quality images. If you buy some of this used, you can get it all for about the price of a new smartphone. I buy used equipment all the time and have never had any issues. At the end, I'll make some recommendations for upgrades and optional accessories to consider as well if you have room in the budget, but they're definitely not necessary.

Camera + 

 

Main Lens

$648 New | ~$525 Used

Sony a6000 + 16-50mm "Kit" Lens (Buy at Amazon* | Buy at B&H)

This camera is shockingly good for the price. There are better options for video (a6300, a6500), but this is quite good for landscape photography. It's incredibly light and small for the kind of camera you're getting, which is especially nice for hiking and travel. Unless you decide to go with one of the upgraded lens options below (nice, but expensive and not necessary), buy this camera with the kit lens. 

Telephoto Zoom Lens

$348 New | ~$175 Used

Sony 55-210mm Telephoto Zoom Lens (Buy at Amazon* | Buy at B&H)

You definitely don't need a long telephoto zoom lens, but I find that it opens up a lot of creative options in landscape photography and can be used to capture the occasional wildlife shot. Instead of being limited to just the wide-angle grand vista shot, you can zoom in tight and pick out interesting details as well. You might be able to save a little bit of money (especially if you're buying new) by purchasing this in a kit with the camera and 16-50mm lens (above), but I kept this separate since not everyone will want both lenses to start with. When I looked, the price was about the same used in a kit versus separately, so probably not a big deal either way. 

Memory Card

$12

SanDisk 32GB Memory Card (Buy at Amazon* | Buy at B&H)

You need a memory card. This one'll do the trick. There are probably cheaper (and certainly more expensive) options, but SanDisk is very reliable maker of SD cards and 32GB should be plenty to start with. Don't buy used here, not worth the risk to save $5 in my opinion.  

Travel Tripod

$119

MeFoto Backpacker Aluminum Travel Tripod (Buy at Amazon* | Buy at B&H)

Landscape photography and tripods go hand in hand. They allow you to get really sharp images and shoot longer exposures which can lead to better images in low light (common for landscapes) and interesting effects like silky smooth flowing water and motion in clouds. There are undoubtably better tripods out there for more money, and you very well might want to upgrade someday, but this will work well in most situations and be very lightweight for hiking and travel. When I looked, buying used only saved about $10, so I'd just go with new. Plus you can choose from about 10 different colors. Hot pink, anyone?

Circular Polarizer Filter

$23

Tiffen Circular Polarizer Filter (Buy at Amazon* | Buy at B&H)

There are certainly better quality filters out there, but Tiffen is a good price point for getting started. There are lots of other types of filters, but the circular polarizer is probably the most important for landscape photography. Filters come in different sizes, but you don't have to get one for each lens. Get one to fit your lens with the widest front diameter and then get "step-up" adapter rings (below) to use them on your smaller lenses as well.** If you only buy the 16-50 "Kit" lens, you'll need filters with a 40.5mm diameter. If you buy the 55-210 zoom lens as well (my recommendation), get filters with a 49mm diameter.

3-Stop Neutral Density Filter

$17

Tiffen 3-Stop Neutral Density Filter (Buy at Amazon* | Buy at B&H)

Think of this as sunglasses for your camera. It's not strictly necessary, but it can open up some options to do longer exposures even when it's particularly bright outside. If you want to photograph waterfalls or seascapes and create that silky smooth long-exposure look, pick one of these up. Filters come in different sizes, but you don't have to get one for each lens. Get one to fit your lens with the widest front diameter and then get "step-up" adapter rings (below) to use them on your smaller lenses as well.** 

Step-Up Filter Conversion Ring

$7

40.5 to 49mm Step-Up Filter Ring (Buy at Amazon* | Buy at B&H)

Each of your lenses probably has a different diameter and takes different size filters. Instead of buying a set of filters for each lens, just get them for your lens with the biggest diameter and then get these adapter rings so you can use the filters on your smaller lenses. If you went with the two suggested lenses above, you'll want to get 49mm filters and a 40.5mm to 49mm step-up adapter ring.** Any brand will work, jut get the cheapest one you see.

Extra Batteries and Charger

$24

Wasabi Camera Batteries and Dual Charger (Buy at Amazon*)

There's no getting around it. By far the biggest downside to these small Sony cameras is the battery life. It's pretty bad. That said, I don't find switching batteries to be that much of a hassle, so I just carry a few extras around with me. These off-brand ones are almost as good as the Sony ones and waaay cheaper. It's what I use on both the a6000 and the a7rii.

Zeiss Lens Cleaning Kit

$7

Zeiss Lens Cleaning Kit (Buy at Amazon*)

You're outdoors. Your lenses will get dirty. This is the best product for cleaning them and it's cheap. 


Gear List and Total Cost

TOTAL = $909

Since prices will fluctuate a bit over time, especially for used items, the exact total might be slightly different when you look. You can probably also put a bit more effort into finding better deals on used items and save even more money. Either way, that's a good ballpark number for about what you can expect to spend for a beginner (but still very high quality) landscape photography kit that has everything you need to go out and create stunning images.


Optional Upgrades

There are a few other lenses and accessories that I'd like to talk about. Though they're by no means necessary, the lenses will increase your creative options and give you much sharper images and the accessories might make your life 2% easier. Think of all of these as bonus options if they fit within your budget.

Super Wide Angle Lens

$274

Rokinon/Samyang 12mm f/2.0 Lens (Buy at Amazon* | Buy at B&H)

This is a very popular lens among landscape photographers, and for good reason. It's a shockingly high quality lens for the price, will allow you to take super wide angle shots (not the distorted fisheye look though), and has a very wide aperture (opening) of f/2.0, which makes it one of the best lenses for astrophotography on the Sony a6000. If you're interested in creating some of those night landscape shots featuring the Milky Way, pick up this lens if it's in the budget. When I just looked, used prices weren't much cheaper than new, but that might change over time. Two things to note: this lens is sold under a few different brands, but they are otherwise identical. Same company, factory, etc. At the time of writing, the Rokinon-branded version was the cheapest, but when I bought it a few years ago, the Samyang version was cheaper. Just buy the cheapest one. Also, this lens is manual focus only, but it's pretty easy to get used to on a wide angle lens like this. Make sure you get the Sony (E-Mount) version, as this is also made for other types of cameras. Note: if you buy this lens, it takes bigger filters than the above two lenses, so make sure you get 67mm filters instead and then you'll need step-up rings to use those on the smaller lenses.**

Zeiss 16-70 f/4 Lens

$898 New | ~$700 Used

Zeiss 16-70mm f/4 Lens (Buy at Amazon* | Buy at B&H)

This lens is starting to get up into the big leagues price-wise, but it's a significant step up in quality over the 16-50mm "kit" lens. When I use the a6000 for landscape photography, this is on my camera 90% of the time and some of my favorite images ever were taken with this lens. Yes, it's insanely expensive, but it's also very high quality. If you're just starting out, I'd recommend buying the kit lens with the camera as listed above. However, if you know you will be creating large prints or just generally want to get very sharp and contrasty images and it's within your budget, this lens is amazing. I've also heard great things about the 18-105 f/4 lens (~$500), but haven't personally used it so I can't recommend it. This lens take 55mm filters, so remember to take that into account when buying filters and step-up rings.**

Camera Backpack

$280

Peak Design 20L Everyday Backpack (Buy at Amazon* | Buy at B&H)

First, any backpack will work fine; you don't need one specifically designed for photography. If you have a good hiking backpack with straps on the outside (or just plenty of room inside) for the tripod, that'll work perfectly fine. By choosing the smaller Sony a6000 system, you don't need a huge bag with lots of dividers and such. That said, a bag designed for photography can be nice to have. There are a million bags out there, and none of them are perfect. Seriously. However, this one, while ridiculously expensive, is my favorite I've tried so far. It fits a laptop as well and is just meticulously designed down to the last detail. I resisted buying it for a long time due to the price, but it's really a fantastic piece of gear and lives up to the hype.

Camera Strap

$40

Peak Design Leash Camera Strap (Buy at Amazon* | Buy at B&H)

Your camera will come with a camera strap. You don't really even need a camera strap. Even so, I'm a huge Peak Design fanboy, and I really like the straps that they make. Plus, you'll be like all of the cool kids with those red circles dangling off your camera...

Peak Design Capture Clip

$70

Peak Design Capture Clip (Buy at Amazon* | Buy at B&H)

Expensive, but totally worth it if you do a lot of hiking. This genius device attaches to your backpack strap (or belt, or wherever) and holds your camera in a quick-release sort of situation so you can whip it out on a moment's notice when that moose crosses the trail right in front of you. It seems kind of sketchy to have your camera dangling exposed like that, but it's extremely widely used and gets excellent reviews. You can trust anything that Peak Design puts out; they make excellent products.


*No one is paying me to recommend any of these items, but the Amazon URLs are affiliate links. This doesn't change the price or any other aspect on your end, but if you do use those links to purchase anything, I'll likely get a few percent in return from Amazon. I'll never recommend something I haven't used and believe in, but if that feels weird to you, feel free to simply search for the item on Amazon. No hard feelings! In addition, I've had good experiences ordering from B&H numerous times, so feel free to use those links (non-affiliate) as well if you prefer.

**Get filters for your lens with the widest diameter front element and step-up rings to use those filters on your smaller lens(es):

  • 16-50mm "Kit" Lens - uses 40.5mm Filters
  • 55-210mm Telephoto Zoom Lens - uses 49mm Filters
  • Zeiss 16-70mm f/4 Lens - uses 55mm Filters
  • Rokinon/Samyang 12mm f/2 Lens - uses 67mm Filters

For example, if you buy the 16-50, 55-210, and 12mm lenses, then you'll want to buy 67mm filters, a 40.5 to 67mm step-up ring, and a 49 to 67mm step-up ring. 

Finally, you can create surprisingly good photographs with a smart phone these days, so if this doesn't fit in your budget right now, don't let that stop you from creating beautiful pictures!

Top 30 Images of 2017

I dove deep into landscape photography in 2017, ending the year with almost 20,000 images. Narrowing it down is always difficult, but here are my favorite 30 from the year. Of course there are more on Instagram (@brianwlackey) too if you're interested and lots more coming in 2018. 

Quick iPhone shot from Breckenridge early in the year. Nice of these random guys to wear yellow for my image.

  Sam  and I drove up to Rocky Mountain National Park over the 4th of July weekend to try some Milky Way astrophotography. The moon was low on the horizon to my right, illuminating me and the rocks I would stand on. I composed the image and set a 10 second timer to run into position. Then I just had to stand really, really still for about 30 seconds while the camera took in as much light from the stars as it could. By having such a long exposure, the camera is able to see more of the night sky than we can with our naked eye.

Sam and I drove up to Rocky Mountain National Park over the 4th of July weekend to try some Milky Way astrophotography. The moon was low on the horizon to my right, illuminating me and the rocks I would stand on. I composed the image and set a 10 second timer to run into position. Then I just had to stand really, really still for about 30 seconds while the camera took in as much light from the stars as it could. By having such a long exposure, the camera is able to see more of the night sky than we can with our naked eye.

 The perfect summer swimming hole. This waterfall (Slap Virje) is a short drive from the town of Bovec in Slovenia's Soča River Valley.

The perfect summer swimming hole. This waterfall (Slap Virje) is a short drive from the town of Bovec in Slovenia's Soča River Valley.

 Slovenia's Soča River is actually made of gatorade

Slovenia's Soča River is actually made of gatorade

 We didn't think there would be much of a sunset since it had been overcast all afternoon and were back at our campsite building a fire and starting on dinner. A touch of pink through the trees was enough to get us to walk out to this clearing where we saw an amazing pink and purple light display spanning the entire sky. I rushed to find a composition and ended up really happy with this and how the curving trail leads the viewer's eye right to the mountains and the sky.

We didn't think there would be much of a sunset since it had been overcast all afternoon and were back at our campsite building a fire and starting on dinner. A touch of pink through the trees was enough to get us to walk out to this clearing where we saw an amazing pink and purple light display spanning the entire sky. I rushed to find a composition and ended up really happy with this and how the curving trail leads the viewer's eye right to the mountains and the sky.

 Last light from Managart Pass in Slovenia's Julian Alps

Last light from Managart Pass in Slovenia's Julian Alps

 As the fog surrounded the hilltop, the floodlight illuminating the church steeple lit up the whole scene with this eery pink and orange glow. It had rained earlier that day and I composed this image with the church reflecting in a small mud puddle in the dirt road.

As the fog surrounded the hilltop, the floodlight illuminating the church steeple lit up the whole scene with this eery pink and orange glow. It had rained earlier that day and I composed this image with the church reflecting in a small mud puddle in the dirt road.

 Less than 2 hours after landing in Ljubljana, I arrived at this hilltop church. Sunset had already come and gone, but I often like shooting at the blue hour anyway, and the fog really added to the mood.

Less than 2 hours after landing in Ljubljana, I arrived at this hilltop church. Sunset had already come and gone, but I often like shooting at the blue hour anyway, and the fog really added to the mood.

 When I made the last minute decision to make the drive down to Great Sand Dunes National Park, I didn't expect to see scenes like this.

When I made the last minute decision to make the drive down to Great Sand Dunes National Park, I didn't expect to see scenes like this.

 One of the top 5 sunsets of my life. The cold was draining my camera batteries and I had to run back to the car to grab a spare. Rocky Mountain National Park is great all year, but the off season is probably my favorite time to explore this gem.

One of the top 5 sunsets of my life. The cold was draining my camera batteries and I had to run back to the car to grab a spare. Rocky Mountain National Park is great all year, but the off season is probably my favorite time to explore this gem.

 The first fox I'd seen in the wild. I spend a spring evening exploring the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park and saw more wildlife than humans. This guy, plus another fox, and six moose.

The first fox I'd seen in the wild. I spend a spring evening exploring the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park and saw more wildlife than humans. This guy, plus another fox, and six moose.

 Sunrise didn't really happen, but I love this image with the two small people in the distance showing just how big this peak is in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Sunrise didn't really happen, but I love this image with the two small people in the distance showing just how big this peak is in Rocky Mountain National Park.

 Sunrise at Lake Bled, Slovenia. I fell in love with Slovenia in this spot in January of 2012 and have been back twice since then. I don't think this trip was the last time I'll visit either.

Sunrise at Lake Bled, Slovenia. I fell in love with Slovenia in this spot in January of 2012 and have been back twice since then. I don't think this trip was the last time I'll visit either.

 My new favorite waterfall in Colorado. On my map, it's just listed as "Waterfall", but I've heard some other people call it Mystic Falls. I went twice this summer and we had the place to ourselves both times.

My new favorite waterfall in Colorado. On my map, it's just listed as "Waterfall", but I've heard some other people call it Mystic Falls. I went twice this summer and we had the place to ourselves both times.

 Campsite views near Telluride, Colorado

Campsite views near Telluride, Colorado

 First snow over Telluride, Colorado

First snow over Telluride, Colorado

 I somehow convinced my friends Jeremy and Michelle to come with me to see sunrise at Loveland Pass before skiing. Sunrise is always a good idea.

I somehow convinced my friends Jeremy and Michelle to come with me to see sunrise at Loveland Pass before skiing. Sunrise is always a good idea.

 My friend Jeremy and I were camping near Crested Butte and decided to explore along a creek behind our campsite. We ended up stumbling upon several stunning waterfalls and decided that this spot was too perfect to not set up a hammock for a bit.

My friend Jeremy and I were camping near Crested Butte and decided to explore along a creek behind our campsite. We ended up stumbling upon several stunning waterfalls and decided that this spot was too perfect to not set up a hammock for a bit.

 First light on the mountains over Colorado's Lake Dillon

First light on the mountains over Colorado's Lake Dillon

 My car's thermometer read 2°F and there was a thick layer of hoarfrost covering the entire forest

My car's thermometer read 2°F and there was a thick layer of hoarfrost covering the entire forest

 One of the last camping trips of the year. Telluride and the San Juan Mountains quickly jumped to one of my favorite parts of Colorado this year.

One of the last camping trips of the year. Telluride and the San Juan Mountains quickly jumped to one of my favorite parts of Colorado this year.

 A foggy evening in Most na Soči. I'd left my camera in the hotel room and was walking to dinner when I saw the fog start to roll in over the Alps. Dinner didn't end up happening until well after dark.

A foggy evening in Most na Soči. I'd left my camera in the hotel room and was walking to dinner when I saw the fog start to roll in over the Alps. Dinner didn't end up happening until well after dark.

 Under the bridge in Most na Soči, Slovenia. I hadn't intended to spend any time in this town, but as soon as I saw it from the road, I started looking for a hotel. The emerald Soča River is dammed up here, leading to some cool reflection opportunities when the weather is calm. This image ended up winning a photo contest on YouTube as well (from  Brendan van Son 's channel).

Under the bridge in Most na Soči, Slovenia. I hadn't intended to spend any time in this town, but as soon as I saw it from the road, I started looking for a hotel. The emerald Soča River is dammed up here, leading to some cool reflection opportunities when the weather is calm. This image ended up winning a photo contest on YouTube as well (from Brendan van Son's channel).

 Lake Dillon after skiing. There was a light layer of swirling mist on the glass-smooth lake and a long exposure (on a tripod) smoothed it out into this ethereal reflection.

Lake Dillon after skiing. There was a light layer of swirling mist on the glass-smooth lake and a long exposure (on a tripod) smoothed it out into this ethereal reflection.

 The water in Slovenia is often similar in color to the lakes in the Canadian Rockies. Here, however, the color comes from dissolved limestone, not glacial sediment.

The water in Slovenia is often similar in color to the lakes in the Canadian Rockies. Here, however, the color comes from dissolved limestone, not glacial sediment.

 On my way home from a few early season ski runs, I pulled out the camera at Loveland Pass and was drawn to this patch of golden light spilling through the clouds onto the mountains. Something about this image really connects with me and it's probably my overall favorite from 2017.

On my way home from a few early season ski runs, I pulled out the camera at Loveland Pass and was drawn to this patch of golden light spilling through the clouds onto the mountains. Something about this image really connects with me and it's probably my overall favorite from 2017.

 Slovenia's Soča River Valley is home to dozens and dozens of waterfalls, but I think this one (Slap Kozjak) was probably my favorite.

Slovenia's Soča River Valley is home to dozens and dozens of waterfalls, but I think this one (Slap Kozjak) was probably my favorite.

 Longs Peak and countless stars reflecting in Rocky Mountain National Park's Bear Lake.

Longs Peak and countless stars reflecting in Rocky Mountain National Park's Bear Lake.

 I bought a drone (DJI Mavic Pro) in early 2017 and took it with me to Slovenia. This shot is of the historic old town of Piran, across the Adriatic from Venice.

I bought a drone (DJI Mavic Pro) in early 2017 and took it with me to Slovenia. This shot is of the historic old town of Piran, across the Adriatic from Venice.

 It's a pretty dry part of the state, but I went to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park twice this year and it absolutely poured both times. This image was from a trip with my parents in September. They were waiting for me back in the car when this thunderstorm rolled up the canyon. I took this image and then was quickly chased back to the car by several big lightning strikes.

It's a pretty dry part of the state, but I went to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park twice this year and it absolutely poured both times. This image was from a trip with my parents in September. They were waiting for me back in the car when this thunderstorm rolled up the canyon. I took this image and then was quickly chased back to the car by several big lightning strikes.

2°F Sunrise and Time Lapse at Lake Dillon

My car's thermometer read 2°F when I got to Lake Dillon just before sunrise. 

Brrrr.

Over my thermal top, I put on a thin fleece, a fleece vest, the warmest down jacket I own, a neck gaiter, a ski mask, a beanie, snow boots, microspikes for traction, and drained the last of my hot coffee. It'd be overkill for skiing or snowshoeing, but hopefully warm enough for some landscape photography. 

 Could I BE wearing any more clothes??

Could I BE wearing any more clothes??

Driving in from Denver, I'd seen glimpses of fog over the lake, but in the dark it was hard to get a good feel for what the conditions might really be like. A few yards from the car, however, I saw the fog swirling above the lake below, just thick enough to be interesting without obscuring my view of the peaks in the distance.

Perfect! These are the conditions I always hope for on a shoot like this.

I down-climb a bit from the scenic overlook. It's nice, but the really scenic parts are often just above/below/near the actual viewing platform. Plus I see some rough boulders that will hopefully make for a good foreground element, giving the images an anchor.

The sun hasn't quite risen yet, but it's still light enough to see where I'm going and the lake below. The fog seems to be emanating from the (relatively) warm lake and swirling around. I needed to figure out how to capture this motion, either in photo or video.

My first thought: Time Lapse.

Okay, get the small tripod out, set up the Sony a6000 with the 16-70 f/4 lens zoomed all the way out and open up the crappy Sony time lapse app. As much as I adore their cameras, it's clear that Sony is a hardware, rather than a software, company. I need to figure out how to do these videos properly one of these days, but today's not the day to risk mistakes with this scene unfolding. I'll take a decent video over a likely overexposed disaster in conditions like this, so I just set it to "Sunrise" mode and let the camera do its thing.

Once that's set up, I start thinking about photos as the purple pre-dawn light reveals the scene unfolding below me. I promptly forget about the time lapse, and only later realize how good of a decision it was to get one running before I got thinking about photos. I think I'll do more of these in the future now that I have two tripods and the a6000 as a second camera body.

That off and running, it was time to get the big camera out and get to shooting. I won't go into much detail for each shot, other than some of the technical information, but suffice to say it was a productive morning. I'm really happy with several of the shots I came away with. 

 Sony a7rii | Sony 16-35 f/4 @ 16mm | 2.5 sec | f/13 | ISO 100

Sony a7rii | Sony 16-35 f/4 @ 16mm | 2.5 sec | f/13 | ISO 100

 Sony a7rii | Sony 70-200 f/4 @ 132mm | 0.6 sec | f/13 | ISO 100

Sony a7rii | Sony 70-200 f/4 @ 132mm | 0.6 sec | f/13 | ISO 100

 Sony a7rii | Sony 70-200 f/4 @ 145mm | 0.8 sec | f/11 | ISO 100

Sony a7rii | Sony 70-200 f/4 @ 145mm | 0.8 sec | f/11 | ISO 100

 Sony a7rii | Sony 70-200 f/4 @ 200mm | 0.4 sec | f/9 | ISO 100

Sony a7rii | Sony 70-200 f/4 @ 200mm | 0.4 sec | f/9 | ISO 100

 Sony a7rii | Sony 70-200 f/4 @ 200mm | 1/8 sec | f/9 | ISO 100

Sony a7rii | Sony 70-200 f/4 @ 200mm | 1/8 sec | f/9 | ISO 100

 Sony a7rii | Sony 70-200 f/4 @ 200mm | 1/25 sec | f/9 | ISO 100

Sony a7rii | Sony 70-200 f/4 @ 200mm | 1/25 sec | f/9 | ISO 100

 Sony a7rii | 16-35 f/4 @ 16mm | 1/8 sec + 1/25 sec | f/11 | ISO 100 | Two-image blend for focus and exposure

Sony a7rii | 16-35 f/4 @ 16mm | 1/8 sec + 1/25 sec | f/11 | ISO 100 | Two-image blend for focus and exposure

 Sony a7rii | Sony 70-200 f/4 @ 85mm | 1/25 sec | f/11 | ISO 100

Sony a7rii | Sony 70-200 f/4 @ 85mm | 1/25 sec | f/11 | ISO 100

 Sony a7rii | Sony 70-200 f/4 @ 71mm | 1/4 sec | f/7.1 | ISO 100

Sony a7rii | Sony 70-200 f/4 @ 71mm | 1/4 sec | f/7.1 | ISO 100

 Sony a7rii | Sony 70-200 f/4 @ 70mm | 0.5 sec | f/22 | ISO 100

Sony a7rii | Sony 70-200 f/4 @ 70mm | 0.5 sec | f/22 | ISO 100

 DJI Mavic Pro | 1/430 sec | f/2.2 | ISO 100

DJI Mavic Pro | 1/430 sec | f/2.2 | ISO 100

 DJI Mavic Pro | 1/100 sec | f/2.2 | ISO 156

DJI Mavic Pro | 1/100 sec | f/2.2 | ISO 156

The sun up and the best of the fog and light gone, I started hiking back towards the car when I heard voices at the overlook above me. Looking up, I saw a guy in a gray suit and he tells me they're having a wedding.

"Now?"

"Yeah, she's, uh... walking down the aisle right now..."

Only in Colorado would anyone get married in the mountains in December when it's 9°F outside, but I quietly apologized, walked a big loop around the overlook back to the car, and headed off towards Keystone to hopefully get in a few ski runs before heading back to Denver.

Winter Pre-Sunrise Hike to Dream Lake

This past Saturday morning, I woke up around 2am with the intention of getting in some sunrise photography at Rocky Mountain National Park. I decided to shoot some video footage along the way with my new GoPro and had a lot of fun putting together my first ever YouTube video afterwards. Definitely a lot more work than I thought, but it's given me a whole new appreciation for the video editing process. Definitely something I'll continue to experiment with in the future.

The weather was a bit too cloudy for much color in the sunrise, but it was a gorgeous day nonetheless and I was able to get a few shots I was happy with. 

Dream Lake Sunrise

Hikers at Dream Lake

Self Portrait

Longs Peak